blend.jpg


Research question


What are the advantages and disadvantages of converting the current one day face-to- face Safe Food Handing course to a fully online course?

Who are the learners?

Up to 10 students located in remote areas; currently access to training is limited - tyranny of distance!; variety of ages, gender and professions; never done e-learning before.

What were they studying?

THHGHS01B - Follow workplace hygiene procedures (Safe Food Handling)
4 x 1hr synchronous on-line sessions in LiveClassroom. Live Classroom is an online synchronous classroom funded by the TAFE VC.
It allows for real time discussion and interaction using a whiteboard, PowerPoint slides, the use of polls, audio and text chat. To find out more about Live Classroom visit the links section below.

Why look at a blended learning as an option?


gippsland.jpg
Students need this compliance course in order to gain employment despite remote location; THHGHS01B is a short, single unit course - content is readily available from classroom-based delivery. All the students were in remote locations - with travel over these distances to CCEG being a real impediment to training.




How we went about the trial:

First steps

Preliminary planning

  • Tutor training in on-line facilitation - both tutor and manager completed the highly successful Faciltiating Online Course, designed and delivered by GippsTAFE.
  • What needs to be changed in current materials / assessment tasks?
    • research
    • photography
    • create PowerPoint
  • How best to make changes?
    • replace?
    • adapt?
    • add?
    • remove?
  • Create LiveClassroom polls / website activities / icebreakers.
  • Initial contact with students - via email - prior to first class.
  • Check and assist with technical requirements / Orientation to LiveClassroom - prior to first class. Induction beign an essentials part of a successful onlien learning expereince for the student.

The first session

  • Audio / technical check done bofore commencement of course as well as each class. bolceg.jpg
  • Teacher revisits and acquants herself with LiveClassroom tools
  • Deliver content via LiveClassroom in synchronous time (1 hour session)
    • Include icebreakers / light relief - attempt to create a sense of community
    • Teacher needs to guard against speaking for too long.
    • Important to check frequently that the students are still there and listening!

Reflection / evaluation


Answer to Research Question
There were many positives - it can be done.
The unit was relatively easily to convert to make use of the features of LiveClassroom. The students were able to interact in the LiveClassroom environment and achieve part of their assessment during synchronous sessions.

Achievements

Reach

  • Able to provide accredited training to a wider audience - some up to 4 hours away.
  • Potential for delivery Victoria / Australia-wide.

Retention

  • 100% completion

Results

  • All students achieved competency in THHGHS01B

Other

  • Increase in trainer's capacity to deliver on-line. Trainer has found this steep learning curve but is very excited by the new possibilities.
  • A great sense of achievement and satisfaction: We did it!

Future: what's next?

  • Safe Food Handling on-line as a regular offering in our training program
  • Develop the next unit: Implement food safety procedures (Safe Food Supervisor) as an on-line course
  • Investigate how one (or both) could be delivered asynchronously thourh a learner management system such as TAFE VC.
  • Develop other units suitable for on-line delivery.

Tips for Teachers

  • Don't assume you can just transfer current materials to on-line environment - they WILL need modification.
  • Maintain contact with students before / during / after - respond rapidly.
  • Allow plenty of planning / preparation time - especially in the early stages.
  • If using photos - check copyright (Royalty Free DOES NOT necessarily mean for free).
  • Encourage a sense of community.